Sponsored by Exensor
08 Sep 22. Pentagon must rethink incentives, outgoing DIU chief says.
This week, Mike Brown wrapped up his four-year term as director of the Defense Innovation Unit — an organization tasked with helping the U.S. Defense Department more quickly field commercial technology and shepherding non-traditional companies through the Pentagon’s often arduous acquisition system.
During Brown’s tenure, DIU developed an in-house acquisition process, which has allowed it to get companies on contract faster. It’s also increased the number of projects it manages from a few dozen in 2018 to 100 projects today. DIU now boasts a nearly 50% transition rate, which means about half of its efforts end up in the field.
However, Brown is departing amid questions about the future of DIU. Indeed, he has said the organization is facing a shortage of funding and insufficient support from senior Defense Department leaders as well as fundamental problems with the budgeting process. Although he is leaving at the initial planned end of his term, he declined a one-year extension.
The Pentagon has not announced a replacement for Brown, but a spokesman confirmed DIU Deputy Director Mike Madsen will serve as acting director until one is named.
In his last days on the job, Brown spoke with C4ISRNET about the future of DIU, the importance of commercial capability integration and the need for resources and support from the department. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
There’s been some speculation about the future of DIU given some of the criticisms you and others have raised about prioritization within the department, the challenges of expanding commercial technology adoption and budget constraints. What concerns do you have about DIU’s future?
Relative to a couple of years ago, there’s tremendous momentum for DIU. If you think about the number of companies that want to work with us — last year, on average, 43 companies responded to every problem that we put out there. So, we’re becoming a bit more well known. And it’s becoming more well known that we have a high transition rate. That only encourages companies to want to work with us, because it looks like this is a higher probability pathway into the Department of Defense. From the standpoint of companies that are interested in this market, we’re really leveraging this resurgence there’s been in investment in defense tech.
If I look at the demand side for what we do, we’ve never seen stronger demand from within the Defense Department, evidenced by the 100 projects that we have underway. There’s more of a need for what we’re doing. And that creates the crunch that I’ve been vocal about. To accommodate that kind of growth, we need the resources to be able to support the demand that we see. We’re still working with the same number of active-duty military that we had when [former Defense Secretary] Ash Carter set us up seven years ago. Yet at that time, we were an experiment, nobody knew if there was going to be anything here. And I think we’ve shown a proven way to bring commercial technology in and have that fielded to warfighters.
That’s where we need some help to expand some of the resources that really have not been expanding recently. In fiscal 2021, that was kind of a high-water mark for us for enacted appropriations. We’re a little better than FY21, but FY22 was a significant decrease for us.
So far, the president’s budget request for FY23 is the same. So, we’re just trying to make sure we’ve got the resources to accommodate that demand that we’re seeing from all areas of DoD. We’re working with every service, including Space Force, and Marines, many of the agencies, like [National Reconnaissance Office, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency.]
When you talk about needing more support from the department, are you mostly talking about funding?
It’s really three things. A lot of work we do, because it’s contracting, is inherently governmental. So, we need government billets. And that’s been a struggle. It’s a struggle for everyone in the department who’s trying to expand.
Budget, which we talked about, is such an important area that we need to be leaning into. Eleven out of the 14 technologies that my boss [Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering] Heidi Shyu has highlighted as important for national security are being led by commercial companies — things like autonomy, AI, cyber tools. With 80% being commercial, we need to lean into activities like DIU, not see budget cuts.
The third is advocacy. It’s the support of senior leaders as they think about, what are the ways to get the technology we need to the warfighter.
Related to the resource discussion is the question of how much funding the military services should dedicate for commercial capabilities and whether they should be mandated to spend a certain percentage of their funding each year on commercial technology and services. Do you think that’s the direction the department should be moving?
What I think we really need rather than mandates and targets, or certainly something to go along with that approach, would be incentives. Today, if I’m running a major program, I have no incentive to take a risk and use commercial technology, even if I’m going to save a lot of money for the program. Why? If I take that risk I screw up, then I’m probably going to see a lot of negative consequences. If I am using commercial technology, and saving taxpayer dollars and actually having my budget go down because I have implemented this, that’s never seen as a good thing by DoD leadership. Why should we have the program go down from what we’re asking for? The incentives aren’t really aligned.
What we need to think about is, how could the folks who are taking the risk and hopefully delivering more value to the taxpayer, how do they benefit? Imagine if they were able to keep the savings or if they were able to keep a portion of the savings. Today, if you save the department money, it just goes back to the Treasury. It’s similar to the crazy incentive that I see, coming from the business world, of use it or lose it by the end of the fiscal year. Well, that is not a way to create value. That’s an encouragement for a little bit of waste.
For an organization like DIU that’s trying to help the Defense Department field commercial technology and help non-traditional companies work with DoD, does success in the long-term mean DIU is no longer needed?
It’s pretty aspirational. Were that to happen, it would mean that there’s widespread adoption of commercial technology, and we’re able to do it pretty well, meaning we can adopt that kind of technology fast. It takes on average nine to 26 years for the department to bring in new capability. We can bring in capability, because it’s commercial, in one to two years. So, I don’t know why everyone in the department isn’t all over this.
If you talk to the combatant commanders, they are because they see the need to get technology fielded quickly, as opposed to, “Great, we’re working on something that will be here, but I’ll be long gone by the time it comes.” So, there’s clearly a need for the long-term research that a very storied organization like DARPA would do. We need to balance that with the need to bring in capability, more of it, sooner as well. You need to have both activities going.
We’re starting to track for the companies that we’ve brought in — 100 new vendors that we’ve brought into DoD in an era where the defense industrial base is shrinking — what are the follow-on contracts, revenue contracts, for those vendors. Some are being pretty successful. Anduril just got a follow-on contract for $1 bn dollars from U.S. Special Operations Command for their counter [unmanned aircraft system] technology. Another vendor we brought in, C3.ai, to help with predictive maintenance on aircraft, just got a follow-on contract for half a bn dollars from the Missile Defense Agency because that company can also do synthetic trajectories of hypersonic missiles.
We think in total, the amount of follow-on contracts for vendors DIU has brought in is on the order of [$4 bn.] But in that same time, the Department of Defense has bought $1 trillion worth of goods. I don’t think that we’re ever going to approach 100% because you can’t buy everything the Defense Department needs commercially. But think about how far we have to go. If we get there, that’s what’s going to create the incentive for entrepreneurs to think more about national security needs, for investors to think about backing those companies and to find new companies that will be in that space. That’s the ultimate measure of success. It’s really, how widespread is the adoption, how successful are we making those commercial vendors, and are we encouraging new vendors. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 Sep 22. USMC’s assistant commandant previews next budget request. The U.S. Marine Corps’ next budget will likely emphasize systems for secure data transfer, organic mobility and logistics, its No. 2 officer said, reflecting remaining challenges two and a half years into the service’s modernization effort.
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith said the service has, since the spring 2020 release of Force Design 2030, made the most progress on long-range precision fires. It had demonstrated its use of the Naval Strike Missile and the Tomahawk anti-ship missile from atop a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
It also tested organic precision fires — or loitering munitions — in a larger vehicle-mounted and a lighter infantry-operated form factor, hitting moving targets 89 kilometers (55 miles) away. And it began procuring the MQ-9A drone to serve as an airborne surveillance and communications tool, he said Sept. 7 at the Defense News Conference.
“The part that is the most challenging is the transport layer,” he said, referring to the ability to share information across different units and platforms.
The Corps has seen success using its Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar to coordinate these long-range fires in demonstrations at exercises such as this year’s Rim of the Pacific, but it will require continued investment.
Asked about spending priorities in the fiscal 2024 budget request set for release this spring, Smith said the service will focus on transporting data in a secure manner, as well as organic mobility and logistics, while sustaining the force.
On organic mobility, the Marines have spent recent years significantly investing in the aviation portfolio, much of which is applicable to the kinds of small-unit operations Smith described in the discussion. The CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter, the KC-130J transport and refueling plane, and the MV-22 tiltrotor will help Marines move around a theater without relying on the Navy or other armed services.
Making China ‘uncomfortable’
But an important aspect of organic mobility is the light amphibious warship, something the Corps wanted to start buying in FY22. But the effort was delayed over a tight Navy shipbuilding budget.
Smith said the Marines require up to 35 of the vessels so Marines in the Pacific can move with little notice to strategic locations “before the action begins, in order to conduct sea denial as part of distributed maritime operations.”
He said a key feature of the ships will be their ability to beach themselves — more akin to a landing craft than a ship — to make them harder for the enemy to target. If the Marines arrive on a ship that needs a deep port, an adversary can focus its surveillance on the limited number of deep-water ports in a region; if the Marines can beach themselves along any shoreline, finding them becomes immensely more difficult, he explained.
For the time being, the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment will begin experimenting with a stern landing vessel the service is leasing. Smith said he will watch that experimentation in the hope it answers several remaining questions ahead of the light amphibious warship’s procurement and fielding.
“How is the loadout? What is your ability to move from point A to point B? What is your ability to hide yourself, electromagnetically and physically? How quickly can you onload and offload? What will you do to connect with fuel? … What did your supply chain look like? And can you use that vessel to both support you for organic mobility, and can it be used for periods of time to support the joint force logistically?” he wondered.
Smith spoke about the importance of getting this capability to the fleet as soon as possible, therefore enabling the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment and others of the type that stand up in the coming years to fully leverage their capabilities in the Pacific.
Because the Marines hope to remain unpredictable to an adversary, “delay for us is risk … for the combatant commanders.”
But Smith did say the Corps is moving in a direction that makes China uncomfortable, which makes him believe the service should double down on its modernization efforts.
“Every time we build a force and produce elements of that force that have organic mobility, that have low signatures, that have lethality, and you combine those things, the [People’s Republic of China] and other adversaries don’t like that. They don’t like it at all, because there’s a force that’s out there that’s organic and mobile — KC-130s, CH-53Ks, MV-22s, light amphibious warships and traditional L-class ships — and has long-range fires … and it has the ability to thicken the kill web, to sense and make sense using that MQ-9 drone, for example,” he said.
“Nobody likes that, if you’re an adversary, because you can’t see it as well as you can see other things, you can’t maneuver around it because it has organic mobility to sustain forces living in the First Island Chain, in the case of China. Those are things that I know adversaries don’t like, and if you don’t like it as an adversary, we should do more of it and do it faster. And that’s what Force Design is all about: If it makes the PRC uncomfortable, we’re going to change their behavior.”
(Source: Defense News)
07 Sep 22. Pentagon stops accepting F-35 jets to check for Chinese content. The U.S. Pentagon has stopped accepting new F-35 jets after it discovered a magnet used in the stealthy fighter’s engine was made with unauthorized material from China, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
An investigation that gathered steam in mid-August found that an alloy in the engine’s lubricant pump did not comply with U.S. procurement laws that bar unauthorized Chinese content, said Pentagon spokesperson Russell Goemaere. Goemaere confirmed the magnet does not transmit information or harm aircraft, and that there are no risks involved.
Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the jets, said “the issue is related to a magnet on the F-35 Turbomachine manufactured by Honeywell that includes cobalt and samarium alloy.”
Honeywell International Inc (HON.O), who makes the pump, said it “remains committed to supplying high-quality products that meet or exceed all customer contract requirements.”
An alternative source for the alloy will be used in future the Joint Program Office said in its statement.
There are other Chinese-origin magnets on the jet which have received waivers from past Pentagon officials. (Source: Reuters)
07 Sep 22. What have the AUKUS partners spent the last year doing?
The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have spent the last year discussing in detail the capabilities that each partner of the so-called AUKUS agreement will bring to the table for a future Australian nuclear-powered attack submarine, according to the undersecretary of the U.S. Navy.
Speaking at the Defense News Conference on Wednesday, Erik Raven said he doesn’t have submarine design announcements yet, but could say the three nations are focused on “how to get there in the smartest way to make sure this partnership pays dividends well into the future.”
It’s been nearly one year since the allies signed the security pact under which the U.S. and U.K. would share nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia. The three nations agreed to an 18-month consultation period to work through what would be involved in a multinational nuclear submarine development effort.
“Some time in the future, journalists and historians are going to look back at this moment and look at how much work has been done over the past 12 months of this consultation period and ask: ‘Why can’t [the Defense Department] react as quickly to a major program and establish requirements and a process to meeting those strategic goals as quickly as we have been doing?’ ” Raven said.
“We don’t have solutions ready for prime time, but what we have been doing over the last 12 months is really spending it engaging with our partners, understanding what capabilities we all have to bring to the table, what capabilities are needed, and start aligning those against how are we going to perform to plan,” he added.
Top of mind shortly after the AUKUS announcement was choosing the class of submarine the Royal Australian Navy may use — the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class submarine, the British Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarine or something new. But the conversation later turned toward whose industrial base has the capacity to handle additional construction work.
Rear Adm. Scott Pappano, the program executive officer for strategic submarines, has closely tracked industrial base issues related to his top-priority Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, as well as what capacity remains to build and maintain the Virginia attack subs.
Although he’s not directly involved in AUKUS conversations, he said last month that, “if we are going to add additional submarine construction to our industrial base, that would be detrimental to us right now without significant investment to provide additional capacity and capability to go do that.” He added the U.K. submarine-industrial base faces similar constraints.
Despite the challenges, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday has called the arrangement “a strategic stroke of brilliance … for all three countries.”
“That puts all three countries working in lockstep with advanced capabilities to put us in a position where we’re not just interoperable, but we’re interchangeable,” he said.
Raven noted that the National Defense Strategy focuses the U.S. military on China and that AUKUS is a prime example of how to approach that. Not only does the collaboration create a new high-end platform to deter or counter China, but it also launches a discussion about basing and forward presence that could help U.S. naval forces spend more time forward in the Pacific, he explained.
Another issue gaining early attention is training. Given the length of time it takes to grow enlisted and officer leadership who understand nuclear propulsion, the U.S. and U.K. are looking at training opportunities now.
Legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress in June would establish a training program in the United States. The program would induct at least two Australian officers each year to receive training at the Navy’s nuclear propulsion school, enroll in the Submarine Officer Basic Course and then be assigned to duty on an operational U.S. submarine at sea.
During a recent commissioning ceremony for a new Astute-class sub, the U.K. announced Royal Australian Navy personnel are already participating in specialized nuclear training courses conducted by both the U.K. and U.S.
Several American leaders have noted the importance of starting this training this early, given it takes years to prepare an officer to take command of a nuclear-powered sub. In fact, it takes so long that women first began serving on American submarines in 2011, and more than a decade later, no woman has commanded a sub yet. Last month, however, a female senior enlisted sailor was selected to serve as chief of a sub.
(Source: Defense News)
07 Sep 22. Congress wants more details on latest Ukraine aid request. Several U.S. senators on Tuesday asked for additional briefings and reports on President Joe Biden’s new $13.7bn funding request for Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
The White House budget office last week announced the latest Ukraine aid request, which includes $11.7bn for security and economic assistance through December. It also seeks an additional $2bn to reduce domestic energy costs driven up in part by the war.
Defense spending panel chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., told Defense News he wants Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks to provide more information on the request.
“I’m not opposed to it; I just want to know what’s in it,” said Tester.
Armed Services Committee members Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., also asked that the Pentagon brief the Armed Services Committee and submit a report with more details.
In addition to the new request, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told Defense News the Biden administration should quickly use the roughly $2.8bn in untapped drawdown authority to send materiel from U.S. stockpiles to Ukraine, because the authority is due to expire by Oct. 1.
He lambasted the White House for only requesting $7.2bn within the new $13.7bn request for the Defense Department, arguing that’s far too low.
Since last August, the Biden has used presidential drawdown authority 11 times to provide tens of billions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine.
The $7.2bn in new Ukraine aid includes another $3.7bn in presidential drawdown authority and a further $1.5 bn to replenish items sent to Ukraine from U.S. stockpiles. Another $3bn, under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, would allow the Pentagon to contract for new weapons and equipment for Ukraine.
Separately, the Pentagon would get just under $1.6bn to continue the U.S. troop presence bolstering NATO’s eastern edge after Russia invaded. The U.S. has temporarily deployed about 20,000 forces and now has about 100,000 U.S. service members in Europe.
“This aid package is insufficient to provide the Ukrainians with what they need to win,” Inhofe said in a post to Twitter last week. “The Biden admin is now explicitly arguing to provide Ukraine with less military aid than Congress gave them several months ago in a massive bipartisan vote. Congress will have to lead again.”
“It’s clear that Congress will have a lot of work to do to improve a Ukraine aid package when we return. The American people deserve a military aid strategy that protects U.S. national interests by helping the Ukrainians end this war quickly,” he added in the post.
Asked Tuesday whether the Pentagon would use the $2.8bn in unused drawdown authority before it expires, Defense Department press secretary, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, didn’t directly answer.
The Pentagon is “committed to using the aid that we have to support Ukraine,” he said. “And we’ll continue to work very closely with the interagency and with Congress to ensure that we’re spending that aid as expeditiously as possible to support them in their fight.”
Congress in March approved a $13.6bn Ukraine aid package. Lawmakers tripled that funding in May with another $40bn package of military, economic and food aid for Ukraine and U.S. allies, which the White House says was designed to last through September. The Biden administration had initially asked for a lower amount – $33bn – in its second Ukraine supplemental aid request.
The $40bn Ukraine aid package came to roughly $2bn per month in drawdown authority, and the Biden administration’s new request equates to roughly $1bn per month, according to a Republican congressional aide.
“That is the central fight that we’re going to have about this supplemental spending,” said the aide, who was not authorized to speak with the press. “They want to go at roughly half the rate Congress told them to go. They’re not breaking the law when they don’t use drawdown authority. It is a violation, I would argue, of the spirit of the law.”
The White House submitted the latest request as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government through December, which Congress must pass before the end of the month to avert a shutdown. But some Republicans called for a clean government funding bill, raising the prospect Congress might pass another stand-alone Ukraine supplemental.
“The cleaner the better,” said Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on both the Appropriations Committee and its defense spending panel. “We have to see where we are and where our caucus is.”
Roughly $750m in the new Ukraine aid request would go toward procurement, in part increasing production of guided multiple launch rocket systems, or GMLRS. Recent aid packages in the artillery-focused war have included Lockheed Martin-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, with GMLRS ammunition.
A separate provision would expand the pool of recipients for U.S. foreign military financing loans beyond just NATO countries to other countries impacted by the situation in Ukraine. The idea is to encourage those countries to donate materiel to Ukraine, which foreign military financing loans would then replenish.
“We have rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and we cannot allow that support to Ukraine to run dry,” the Office of Management and Budget said in its announcement last week. “The people of Ukraine have inspired the world, and the Administration remains committed to supporting the Ukrainian people as they continue to stand resolute and display extraordinary courage in the face of Russia’s full-scale invasion.” (Source: Defense News)
06 Sep 22. USAF test launched nuclear missile Wednesday morning. The U.S. Air Force conducted a test launch of an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday morning, the Pentagon announced.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a Tuesday briefing that Air Force Global Strike Command will launch the Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, calling it a routine test that was scheduled well in advance.
It will be the second such test in less than a month, since the Aug. 16 launch of another unarmed Minuteman III from Vandenberg. That launch was delayed 12 days from its original date in an effort to avoid worsening tension with China after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The Chinese government objected to her visit and fired missiles into the water off the coast of Taiwan as part of military exercises.
Ryder did not address China in Tuesday’s briefing, but told reporters that the U.S. had notified Russia about plans to conduct the launch test in accordance with treaty obligations.
The launch will be similar to previous tests and is designed to verify the effectiveness and readiness of the missile system and U.S. nuclear forces, Ryder said. “The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also delayed a previous Minuteman III test in March, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on higher alert. At that time, the Pentagon said the test was delayed to avoid any misunderstanding with Russia, and the department urged Putin to take steps to lower tension. (Source: Defense News)
06 Sep 22. Naval research boss wants ‘experimentation czar’ powers.
The chief of naval research is pushing for the creation of an “experimentation czar” for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, a job meant to bring rapidly evolving technology to the fleet faster.
Rear Adm. Lorin Selby said the change would amount to an additional responsibility for him, or his successor, as director of the Office of Naval Research. The idea is to expand funding and authorities of the office to catapult promising technologies across the so-called “valley of death,” the time between development and actual procurement, he said.
The Marine Corps already has something similar in its Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, whose director also serves as the vice chief of naval research. MCWL maintains a matrix of training events big and small, all of which can be used to experiment with new gear or concepts. Lessons learned get rolled into later experimentation events and into rapid acquisitions efforts.
Selby told Defense News in an interview that that model could work for the whole naval force — he’d likely start with a more limited focus on U.S. 7th Fleet and III Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific, and he’d expand once the model proves useful — but it would take some fundamental changes to how money can be spent within the Department of Defense.
Selby said three things have to happen to bring disruptive technology into the fleet: ideation, incubation and scaling.
His office and other organizations receive a steady flow of good ideas from within the military and from partners in academia and industry. On incubation, he said the Navy is good at experimenting but doesn’t do it enough. “That’s a result of resources: it’s money and people,” he said, and the Navy needs to invest to create “a perpetual experimentation machine.”
Once a good idea is identified and matured, scaling it up is what trips up the Navy. If the service finds a cheap uncrewed system and wants to buy 100 or 1,000 of them to scatter around the fleet, for example, there’s no good way to make that happen quickly. The research community would have to find a program executive office to sponsor it, and the PEO would have to squeeze it into the budget planning process that may already be looking two fiscal years down the line. Then, once the money is available, the PEO would have to go through the acquisition process to award a contract, and the product may not finally deliver in numbers for three or four years.
“We’ve got to figure that piece out, which means … flexible funding,” Selby said.
Rather than require two organizations to be on the same page from opposite sides of the valley of death, Selby prefers to talk about a “bridge owner,” which would be the new experimentation czar.
“That person needs to have the contract shop, the finance shop, the legal shop, do all that stuff. And the good news is, I have all that. I just would need these additional authorities over additional monies” for the prototyping and procurement efforts, Selby argued. He added that the program offices already have the money; he’d just need to convince senior leadership to peel off a small portion of that money and give him control over it.
The rear admiral, who has led the Office of Naval Research since May 2020, said he’s having those conversations with top leaders now.
“Many of the senior folks I’ve talked to totally agree: yep, we need this experimentation machine. I’ve had some conversations with folks connected to the Hill who said, these are exactly the ideas we’re looking for,” he said. But the federal budget process doesn’t make flexible spending easy, requiring money in each “program element” line to be spent in just the right way.
A Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution Reform, which was mandated by the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act and formed earlier this year, may tackle the restrictive nature of today’s line-by-line budgeting and create some sort of flexible funding pot.
Once that flexible spending account is created, it will need money to fill it.
“That’s the challenge we have: No one really disagrees with the concept, other than where the bodies come from and how you pay for it.”
Selby said he’s currently talking to Navy leadership about how to find some money within the next one or two budget years, perhaps taking from other procurement programs that are facing delays and could have some dollars shaved off without further hurting them.
Ahead of getting the money side worked out, Selby is trying to demonstrate the process he would bring to this experimentation czar role.
To that end, the Office of Naval Research is running what the Navy has dubbed the “SCOUT” experimentation effort that. In this first iteration, the project focuses on solving operational problems for U.S. Southern Command in narcotics interdiction. Selby said the SCOUT team went to Joint Interagency Task Force South headquarters in Key West, Fla., to learn more about the specifics of their challenges — how to conduct wide-area search, how to incorporate P-8A Poseidon aircraft into their processes, how to aggregate data. The team came back with four specific problems to tackle.
Through a commercial solutions opening, more than 80 companies applied to participate in this SCOUT effort. Selby said ONR whittled through them and would put together a final set of potential solutions to demonstrate in the Southern Command area in February or March.
He noted SCOUT is relying on a “pick-up team” of staff from ONR and warfare centers, and he said “that needs to be a permanent team” if the model were to be scaled up for a Navy-wide experimentation czar.
Selby said he feels strongly about creating a “perpetual experimentation machine” so the Navy can develop a strategic hedge: though the service needs to continue research and development in support of modernizing current ships, aircraft and weapons, the Navy also needs to seek disruptive technologies that would give it an entirely different way to fight a fight. He recalled the Navy’s development of naval aviation and aircraft carriers in the 1920s, even despite fielding a fleet centered around battleships. When the Japanese neutralized the U.S. battleship fleet, the U.S. Navy was able to succeed in the war because it had naval aviation technology and concepts ready to quickly employ.
“I’m very clear: I’m not trying to replace the big complex things because we still need them,” he said. “I’m just concerned that, somewhere along the way here, somebody is going to figure out how to counter that — and I want to have a backup plan.” (Source: Defense News)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company